You can’t buy digital transformation from a vendor, and you won’t find it on a stock keeping unit (SKU). So, if someone shows up with a quote and says you can achieve digital transformation for $100,000 or $1 million, tread carefully.
Digital transformation is tough work that never ends. You can’t buy it, and you can’t avoid not doing it.
In-House Or Outsource?
Transformative change is inherently difficult — and it should be. We don’t expect change to happen overnight in our personal lives, so why would organizational change be any different?
Digital transformation requires a business to put the right people in the right roles, which is likely different than how most organizations structure their teams today. It’s also a process that necessitates input and buy-in from software developers, DevOps, the IT division, executives and essentially every member of an organization.
Consider all the capabilities that your company offers to customers, partners and internal employees. Now, think about the product management discipline that must be sprinkled throughout your company to facilitate a systematic change in how those people interact with each other, the organization and its customers.
To increase the rate of iteration, businesses need the right technology, but they can’t be distracted by the latest shiny object that fascinates developers or excitable members of their team.
There is tremendous potential in leveraging cloud-native and open-source technologies, but organizations must also be disciplined about what they build in-house and the tools they should seek from a service provider, cloud provider or vendor. This takes extraordinary discipline because you have to focus time, people and resources on iterating in a way that generates meaningful feedback and contributions from everyone involved.
Rapid Iteration Without Hesitation
Businesses used to rely on creating a competitive advantage by seeking out a particular position in the market and protecting it via intellectual property or scale, but those protective measures don’t work well in today’s market.
Sustainable competitive advantages are nearly impossible to hold onto if your business is stagnant and not constantly pushing itself. When organizations are more responsive and adapt to consistent change, they can create an environment that fosters rapid iteration without hesitation or fear.
That’s why the journey to digital transformation never truly ends. When organizations respond faster to the market and recognize the benefits of constantly changing the dynamics of their businesses, they foster learning and achieve business outcomes that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Digital Transformation Can’t Be Bought
Any time there’s a change that touches the tech sector, I see tech vendors start to create new products they claim will solve a complete set of new, and sometimes undefined, challenges. Take the early days of cloud computing as an example. Some vendors were shipping hardware that was labeled for the cloud! I also recently saw an ad for a company that claimed its tech products could digitally transform an application.
Digital transformation is so much more complex than software or hardware. It actually changes the way your company operates. You can’t just cast a spell on an application and transform it overnight.
Now, don’t get me wrong: Technology plays a big part in helping an organization adapt to change and develop an environment that supports rapid iterations. Cloud-based services can reduce the amount of time you need to think about undifferentiated components of your systems and free your talent to focus on more important endeavors.
Don’t Avoid The Need To Transform
Your competition, regardless of the industry, is already finding ways to be more responsive to their customers. I often meet with companies that are embracing new technologies and changing the way they function to create rapid feedback loops and put the right people in the right roles at their organization to achieve that.
Don’t avoid the digitization process if you plan to stay in business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a large enterprise or a small business operating in a very traditional industry. The choice isn’t a choice any longer.